This instructable will teach you how to create light paintings. This will also teach you about some additional interesting things you can do to your light painting to make more than just a light painting.
Before you learn how to make this type of photograph make sure you have creativity and the willing to experiment with this affect outside of the instructable, because some of the best affects are discovered by doing things differently. With this I hope I can help people create cooler looking light paintings because I wish to see cooler and creative light painting effects.
Step 1: Get Your Materials
These are the things you will need:
-Where you can edit the settings
Step 2: Finding a Place to Shoot
Before you start to shoot you will need to find a proper location to take your photo. Some things to look for in a place to shoot is can you control the lighting. Is if there any sources of light that you can not control. A good tip to avoid unwanted sunlight is to shoot at night.
Step 3: The Setup Part 1
First thing that you want to do is make sure the room or area where you are shooting has little debris for you to step on. Attach your camera to your tripod, typically there is a small plate for which you can screw your camera onto. It is best to keep the camera in the landscape position. Try make sure you do not have a lot of the floor in the shot to have maximize your space to draw.
Step 4: The Setup Part 2
Even though you are not photographing any specific thing, it is still a good idea to focus your camera on a specific location in the room. For example 3 meters away from the camera. To do this, have someone stand 3 meters away from the camera and then focus either using manual focus or auto focus.
After you have focused the camera and if possible turn the focus to manual this way the camera will not try to focus on something when the lights are turned off or when it is dark.
You want to focus the camera to make the streaks of light more sharp and crisp making the light painting overall more appealing for the viewer.
Step 5: Setup Part 2
You will want to get another person to help you find the drawing limits. This can be done by reaching out to your right until you reach the edge of the frame. Then do this on your left, above you and below you. It is Recommended that you mark the ground with dimly lit objects, or soft objects to mark the limits of your light painting.
It is also recommended that you cover your light source with a piece of fabric or in this case piece of tissue. To make sure the light is not too strong.
I used Xbox controllers for the dim light and a belt for the soft object. To mark the spots in which the limits of the photograph.
Step 6: Camera Settings
It is recommended that you set your camera to manual mode, which is represented by a M on a know that is typically found on the top of cameras. If your not experienced enough or not comfortable using manual mode you can use shutter priority which is represented with the letter S or TV on the top of your camera.
With the light priority on you can simply set the camera to have a long exposure for example 30 seconds to give ample drawing time, or you could have another person help you take the photo by setting the shutter to bulb. Bulb will enable you to keep the shutter open when you have the shutter button pressed down.
But if you are capable of using manual. Then the setting for the shutter speed should be the same as the one suggested for shutter prority. You should set the ISO to 100 to reduce how much light the in camera sensor picks up. Then set the f-stop to 8 to further reduce the light that enters the camera. With these settings only the light from the your light source will be captured in the camera,
Step 7: Taking Your Photograph
Before you take your photo you will need to plan how it will look. Once you have your idea you can start painting with light. First you will turn off any bright light sources in the room you are in. Have someone hold down the shutter or have the shutter go for 30 seconds. Make your way to the spot in which you marked on the floor and start drawing with light.
If you find that your light source is to dark because of the fabric, then you should remove it.
It may take several tries to get the desired shape, but do not worry it always takes multiple tries to get a good photo. If you can't get the desired shape take a break and have a little bit of fun and just draw random things. The example is above of the bad shot being on the top and the good shot being on the bottom.
Step 8: Some Fun Effects
To get your light painting to go over a background you do not need photoshop. All you have to do is draw regularly using the your light source. When you are done you can use flash or turn on the lights in the room for a split second to have your camera capture the environment including. This can lead to some very funny things.
The other two pictures were done with a very bright light that so that it was able to illuminate the environment, while drawing with light. If you want to do this you must be careful are else you will end up in the photo as well. You also can create shadow people by keeping yourself in the dark while illuminating everything even though this isn't really light painting, but when used in tandem with light painting it creates really cool pictures.